I remember a long time ago reading an article online about how some high schools through the US were going to stop keeping score at football games in order to avoid making the losing team feel too badly about themselves. There is also the Mercy Rule which prevents a team from winning by too many points – which, I guess I can understand. Sort of.
I played sports all of my life up until I reached college. Some I was better at than others. A little known fact is that I was a martial arts instructor also, teaching multiple forms of martial arts which I translated into varsity wrestling in high school. Whenever I would lose a match, I would watch the video in the following days, practice, and adjust. So did the rest of our team. I liked wrestling, because even though it is a team sport, it is also an individual sport.
We had two separate records: Team and individual. This meant that while we were responsible for our own actions, we also had a vested interest in helping the rest of our teammates improve as well. Holding them to certain standards. Helping them along the way with things we had learned to be effective in our own matches. Not much else motivated people to get better though, besides losing.
You may be asking yourself by now, what does this have to do with dating and relationships? Well, a lot actually.
You see, as men, we are responsible for our individual lives – just like we were on the wrestling team. But we are also on the same team in some ways. The way we act towards a woman is the perception that she carries into her next interaction with another man. It may not be fair, it may start us behind the 8-ball when we have done nothing wrong, but it is reality. And it makes us all responsible, because we are all connected in that way.
We can still win as individuals. You can be the best wrestler on the team and win all of the individual titles, but only if you put in your own individual work and effort to rise above the rest of your teammates. You cannot coast along and just accept your trophy because other people on the team are good. This goes for life as well.
And this is what is happening lately. We are giving trophies just for showing up. We are afraid to criticize others because we might hurt their feelings. We are afraid to make anything exclusive because some people will feel left out. We have stopped keeping score in the game of life.
What this leads to, is entitlement. Men are feeling entitled to women. They feel they have the right to a woman because they took her on a date or paid her a compliment or did something nice for her. They are reacting to rejection in a “How dare you reject me” manner and it is making everyone look bad.
This is not how it works.
In my opinion, being in an exclusive relationship with someone is one of the highest compliments they can give you. Here is a person who has the opportunity to choose one person out of 7 billion in the world to intimately commit themselves to. When they choose you, it is a privilege that should be taken seriously.
Nobody is entitled to anyone else. Nobody owes anything to anyone. Acts of kindness for the sake of a reward are not truly kindness – they are bribes. We have to start valuing each other as human beings and letting go of the idea that we have the right to be in a relationship with them.
The harsh reality is that you do not inherently deserve anyone’s love just because you are you. And they do not deserve your love, just because they are them. If they have not put in the proper effort to become the right kind of person and also to show you how much you mean to them in order to build an emotional bond with you – then they have not earned the opportunity to be with you. It is that simple.
You are not a participation trophy. You are not something that someone gets just because they happened to show up first. Plus, nobody puts a participation trophy on their mantle. There is pride in earning something that not everybody gets. Something that requires effort to be part of, and then effort to stay part of. A relationship with you is this something.
You are a championship trophy, reserved only for the one who puts the work and effort into becoming the person who truly deserves you – and it’s time somebody told you that.
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